Caring For Your Carbon Fiber Bicycle Frame
October 30, 2019
Aventon recently launched Ultro, our first carbon fiber frameset for track and fixed gear cycling. Caring for a carbon fiber frame and fork is a little different than the steel and aluminum frames you may be familiar with, and there are also some special steps to note during the assembly process too.
Here are some tips you should know to take great care of your Ultro frame, and other carbon brands as well:
Use a torque wrench and follow torque guidelines
Modern carbon fiber frames and forks often have specific torque specs provided by the manufacturer, or even printed on the component itself for your reference. If you are assembling or maintaining a carbon frame like the Aventon Ultro, you should own and use a torque wrench to ensure you don’t over-tighten.
Don't clamp your bike in a work-stand
It’s common to clamp bikes by their seat tube when using workstands like models from Park Tool or Feedback Sports. This practice is fine for steel frames, but the clamps on these stands are so powerful they can crush or dent thin-wall aluminum or carbon fiber frames. The seatpost is typically a safer place to clamp your bike.
Use a carbon assembly compound
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the use of carbon assembly compound vs. grease. You should use grease for metal-on-metal contact areas, for example, installing aluminum bottom bracket cups into the threaded aluminum bottom bracket shell on the Ultro. Carbon assembly compound is typically use for carbon-on-carbon contact, like the installation of the Ultro’s aero carbon fiber wing seatpost into the carbon frame seat tube. Don’t use grease for carbon-on-carbon contact when building your Ultro.
Chose the right car/truck rack
If you plan to transport your Ultro on a car or truck rack, take care to use a style that protects the carbon frame tubes. The best option are hitch-mount carriers, like the Thule T2 style, that don’t touch the frame at all. Another good option is the fork-mount carrier, where the front wheel is removed and the bike attaches to the rack with a quick release lever that grabs the fork dropouts. If you use this type of carrier, take care to install and remove the bike only in a straight up-and-down motion. Don’t tilt the bike at an angle, as this could damage the dropouts.
Avoid using the style of rack with a “jaws” clamp that clamps onto and squeezes the downtube. This type is fine for steel frames, but should be avoided with carbon.
With any rack, check the clamps, straps, and pads to ensure that nothing is rubbing or scraping the frame before driving.